Harvesting Turnip Seeds
Saving and sowing small turnip seeds into a variety of vegetable plants is very easy, fun, and can help you grow some of the tastiest varieties for future planting year after year. Turnip seeds are available most of the time through local markets and grocery stores, however not always the traditional red and white varieties. There are several hybrid varieties available as well. The most popular is likely to be the black, burgundy, or cream coloured turnips. They tend to be smaller in size, which makes them perfect for sowing in containers.
Keep in mind that they will need to be planted in warm conditions. They do well when the soil is well-drained, with lots of light, but they will do better if it is slightly acidic, as well-drained soil will need less acidic fertilizer, if any. They will also do best in well-ventilated areas. Also, try and plant them in partial sun during their first two growing seasons, then switch to shaded areas.
You will want to dig out the ground as much as possible, and transplant the root system as far down as possible in a separate container. In early autumn, the root system will have almost completely dried out, so there won't be any root problems later. In late summer, they are just as high on the stem, so the shallow roots are exposed. Keep the soil moist at all times, but do it only moderately, because the soil near the root system can become dry, too. In early autumn, the leaves should have fallen off by now, providing an excellent source of moisture. The fall foliage will keep the plants green and healthy through the winter season.
The timing for planting is important. The earlier you plant turnip seeds, the faster they will grow. If you start them about six weeks before the last frost, they should begin to sprout quickly. However, you should plan to have your turnips in place by about October first, because by then, the leaves on the stems should be falling off. If the leaves don't start falling off before November, there may be too many leaves on the stems for them to sprout fast.
Harvesting turnips grow very fast, so you will need to clip about a third of an inch per week. Harvest when the main stalk is about to turn brown, for maximum color. Remove the rest of the leaves after it turns black. You can store the un-harvested stems in Tupperware containers or a large salad spinner.
When you are planting your Turnip seeds, it's a good idea to plant a variety that is known to be a hardy variety. Some common varieties are the red and white, like, kohlrabi and angina. These varieties should be able to tolerate different temperatures and can stand some frosts as well. However, if you don't have any of these varieties in your area, consider planting tomatoes instead.
Once your turnips have produced several crops a year, for harvesting, it's time to remove the young, tender roots. This can be done with a spade or a sharp knife. If you want to plant them in the garden, it's best to dig them up. Otherwise, they should be dug up in the autumn. Digging the turnips up reduces the risk of disease and also makes harvesting easier.
Harvesting turnip seeds doesn't take long. Just pick the fruits from the ground. If you want to store the fruits for future use, put them into a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. In winter, the turnips will be cool enough to preserve in a refrigerator.